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A Light Song of Light

Kei Miller

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RRP: GBP£ 9.95
Available
eBook (EPUB)
ISBN: 978 1 847779 23 6
Categories: 21st Century, Caribbean
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: August 2010
80 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • A light song of light swells up in the dark
    times, in wolf time and knife time,
    in knuckle and blood times; it blooms
    nocturnally, like a Chinese flower,
    bright against the midnight.

            from 'Twelve Notes for a Light Song of Light'
    Kei Miller's work was acclaimed by the distinguished Jamaican writer Olive Senior as 'Some of the most exciting poetry I’ve read in years... An extraordinary new voice singing with clarity and grace.' A Light Song of Light sings in the rhythms of ritual and folktale, praise songs and anecdotes, blending lyricism with a cool wit, finding the languages in which poetry can sing in dark times.

    The book is in two parts: Day Time and Night Time, each exploring the inseparable elements that together make a whole. Behind the daylight world of community lies another, disordered, landscape: stories of ghosts and bandits, a darkness violent and seductive. At the heart of the collection is the Singerman, a member of Jamaica's road gangs in the 1930s, whose job was to sing while the rest of the gang broke stones. He is a presence both mundane and shamanic. Kei Miller’s poems celebrate 'our incredible and abundant lives', facing the darkness and making from it a song of the light.


    Cover photograph: Detail of balmyard constructed from zinc, Jamaica. Copyright © Kei Miller.
    Contents

    Day Time

    Twelve Notes for a Light Song of Light 
    This Zinc Roof 
    Some Definitions for Song 
    Until you too have journeyed 
    Some Definitions for Light (I) 
    If this short poem stretches 
    Notice to the Public, Please Observe 
    Some Definitions for Light (II) 
    The Longest Song 
    A Short Biography of the Singerman 
    Brochure 
    What Can Be Accommodated 
    The Singerman’s Papa 
    The Colour of the Singerman’s Songs 
    In Defence of Obeah 
    Questions for Martin Carter 
    Call this apocalyptic propaganda if you must 
    For Cornelius Eady 
    Thinkin Home 
    Some Definitions for Light (III) 


    Night Time

    The Lost Prophecy of Alexander Bedward 
    Abracadabra 
    Unsung 
    Prologue 
    De True Story of Rolling Calf 
    De True Story of Nathaniel Morgan 
    De True Story of Coolie Duppy 
    De True Story of deLaurence 
    A Praise Song for Sudden Lights
    A Creed 
    A Smaller Song 
    For the Pilots 
    A Short History of Beds We Have Slept in Together 
    The Law Concerning Mermaids 
    What We Thought Were Signs 
    On the Ninth Night 
    The Singerman’s Other Job 
    A Parting Song 
    A Nine Night Song 
    Noctiphobia 
    Some Definitions for Night 

    Kei Miller was born in Jamaica in 1978. Kei writes across a range of genres: novels, books of short stories, essays and poetry. His poetry has been shortlisted for awards such as the Jonathan Llewelyn Ryhs Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Scottish Book of the Year. His fiction has ... read more
    Awards won by Kei Miller Short-listed, 2014 Costa Book Awards for Poetry (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion) Short-listed, 2014 International Dylan Thomas Prize (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion) Winner, 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion)
    Praise for Kei Miller 'A tremendous range of writing as excellent Jamaican poets rub shoulders with peers from Haiti, Trinidad and the Bahamas. Diverse and stimulating.'
    Independent on Sunday
    'These captivating poets write from the heart with poems which range from the spare and haunting to the risky and experimental. There are surprises, there is beauty, there are pleasures to be discovered, there is much to be enjoyed.'
    Bernardine Evaristo
    'Some of the most exciting poetry I've read in years. Radiant utterance that speaks of island experiences and gender politics from a deep well of understanding, with empathy, humour and insight. An extraordinary new voice singing with clarity and grace.'
    Olive Senior
    'Raise high the roofbeams, here comes a strong new presence in poetry...Kei Miller's is a voice we will hear much more of, for it speaks and sings with rare confidence and authority.'
    Lorna Goodison
    'The verse movement here, the interplay of sound values in inner rhyme and consonantal pairing, in fact the whole lyrical movement of the text, I find exemplary.'
    Peter Riley, Fortnightly Review
    'Miller's charming second collection [There Is an Anger that Moves] is an affectionately jaunty glimpse of a life caught between the cold and baffling England he has adopted and the fiery warmth of his Jamaican home.'
    No. 7 in 'The Ten Best New poetry collections' - the Independent, 2007
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